Jon Landau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jon Landau
Born (1947-05-14) May 14, 1947 (age 75)
New York City, United States
Occupation(s)Record producer, music critic
Spouse(s)Janet Maslin
Barbara Downey

Jon Landau (born May 14, 1947)[1] is an American music critic, manager, and record producer. He has worked with Bruce Springsteen in all three capacities. He is the head of the nominating committee for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,[2] and received that institution's Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2020.[3]

Early life[edit]

Born in New York City, Landau grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and then in Queens before his family moved to the Boston suburb of Lexington, Massachusetts when he was 12.[4] He attended Lexington High School and then Brandeis University, where he earned a degree in history with honors.[5]

Aligning himself with the growing underground culture of late-1960s Boston, Landau carved out a niche while writing for the music magazine Crawdaddy. A failed performer yet a passionate, devoted fan, Landau championed the straightforward rock and roll that he loved, and wrote scathing reviews of what he saw as the overblown, pretentious San Francisco scene.[6]

As a critic, Landau wrote for Rolling Stone from its first issue and for other publications. In Volume 1, Number 1 of Rolling Stone, published on November 9, 1967,[7] Landau compared Jimi Hendrix and his debut album, Are You Experienced, to Eric Clapton and Cream's debut album, Fresh Cream (both released months before, and both Hendrix and Cream having made huge American splashes as live performers that summer). The next few issues saw Landau staking out more traditional R&B and soul territory with profiles of Aretha Franklin,[8] and Sam and Dave,[9] plus a posthumous Otis Redding appreciation.

Bruce Springsteen connection[edit]

Landau's 1974 article in The Real Paper,[1] wherein he claimed, "I saw rock and roll's future and its name is Bruce Springsteen!," is credited by Nick Hornby[10] and others[who?][citation needed] with fostering Springsteen's popularity. Landau was then hired by Springsteen, and is cited as co-producer on Springsteen studio records from 1975's Born to Run through 1992's Human Touch and Lucky Town. Landau is considered to have influenced Springsteen artistically[11] as well as professionally.

Other music projects[edit]

Other artists that Landau has managed or produced include MC5, Livingston Taylor, Jackson Browne, Natalie Merchant, Alejandro Escovedo,[12] Train,[13] and Shania Twain.

Landau has been responsible for the liner notes for The Atlantic Albums Collection by Aretha Franklin (2015), Soul Manifesto: 1964-1970 by Otis Redding (2015), and The Complete Atlantic Albums Collection by Wilson Pickett (2017).

Personal life[edit]

Landau was once married to The New York Times film critic (and later book reviewer) Janet Maslin. He later married Barbara Downey, a former Rolling Stone editor. They have two children, Kate, also an artist manager, and Charles. Landau and his wife own an art collection that includes work by Titian, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, Donatello, Ghiberti, Géricault, Delacroix, and Corot. He also owns one of the largest private collections of Courbet. With the exception of his family and his work, the collection, featuring Italian painting and sculpture of the 13th through 17th centuries and mid-19th-century French romantic realist painting, is reportedly Jon’s greatest interest in life. [14]

In 2011, Landau had a growth in his brain surgically removed. The surgery resulted in the loss of sight in one eye.[15]


  1. ^ a b Landau, Jon (May 22, 1974). "Growing Young With Rock and Roll". The Real Paper via Archived from the original on February 2, 2003. Retrieved October 23, 2012. Writing ahead of a weekly newspaper's May 22, 1974 publication date: "I'm 27 today...."
  2. ^ "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominating Committee | Future Rock Legends". Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  3. ^ "Jon Landau | Rock & Roll Hall of Fame". Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  4. ^ Strauss, Valerie (November 11, 2014). "The education of Jon Landau, Bruce Springsteen's legendary manager". The Washington Post.
  5. ^ Metcalf, Stephen (May 2005). "Faux Americana: Why I still love Bruce Springsteen". Slate.
  6. ^ Kurutz, Steve. "Artist Biography - Jon Landau". AllMusic. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  7. ^ "Hendrix and Clapton, p. 18.
  8. ^ Rolling Stone, 1967.11.23, vol. 1, no.2, "Aretha," p. 16
  9. ^ Rolling Stone, 1968.01.20, vol. 1, no. 4.
  10. ^ Hornby, Nick (May 21, 2004). "Rock of Ages". The New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  11. ^ Metcalf, Stephen. "Faux Americana: Why I still love Bruce Springsteen". Slate. Retrieved November 22, 2014.
  12. ^ "Reuters Review of Escovedo's new album Real Animal". Reuters. Archived from the original on May 4, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  13. ^ "Jon Landau | HuffPost". Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  14. ^ ArtNews, "Barbara and Jon Landau," 2022.
  15. ^ Remnick, David. The New Yorker, "We Are Alive," July 30, 2012.

External links[edit]